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Jun 21, 2011

Belize Chamber of Commerce members against nationalization

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry this morning sent out a stinging press release regarding the nationalization of B.E.L. in which it disagreed with the government for the hasty expropriation of the country’s only electric provider.  According to the release, the Chamber “does not believe that it was necessary for the government of Belize to forcibly expropriate Belize Electricity Limited. This is especially true when the Prime Minister publicly announces that he is affording B.E.L. twenty days to find a solution, and well before the expiration of that period, in haste and in the shroud of secrecy, he convenes a Special Sitting of the House and the Senate and once again abuses the norms of our parliamentary democracy and legislative process to expropriate the company in one day.” The Chamber’s Vice President of Commerce told News Five that even in its own survey with the business community, the majority of businesses polled disagreed with the nationalization.

Alberto Young, Vice President of Commerce, BCCI

Alberto Young

“This whole process was rushed. In fact I remember us meeting with Allan Slusher and Lynn Young last week to get the facts on what was happening and some options were actually given to GOB via Mister Slusher. And it seems that this was just really rushed. And the other major factor is the effects on investor confidence. You know I mean after BTL comes B.E.L. and the way it is being handled is a major concern for the Chamber of Commerce and private sector. Twenty days were given and unfortunately that time frame basically ended up being less than twenty days. And that’s why the major concern is the way this was handled. It was rushed when they were possibly other solutions that could have been brought to the table. And that’s a major concern that other options weren’t explored. The other thing is that there is another concern that hasn’t been looked at is what it will cost the Belizean people to acquire B.E.L. and to operate B.E.L. in the long term. So those are the major issues that the Chamber of Commerce has basically voiced.”

Jose Sanchez

“Has the Chamber conducted a survey with the business community with regarding whether or not they support or do not support nationalization?”

Alberto Young

“Yes, in fact just up to yesterday we were at over a hundred responses from members. A survey was sent basically and the result so far is a little bit over seventy percent did not agree with the takeover of B.E.L.”

Jose Sanchez

“What are the practical ramifications international of both B.E.L. and Telemedia takeover. How does it affect us?”

Alberto Young

“Well basically it boils down to investor confidence and it’s something that both the private sector and government will have to work jointly to improve or to build back. That’s a major concern and the Chamber sees that as something that will require GOB and private sector to work on because if we are to improve the economy, bring back jobs—because there is a serious need for jobs in this economy and globally we need to be looking for opportunities, it will require bringing back investor confidence. And that’s something that the Chamber of Commerce is committed to working with the Government of Belize, but that is something that we must do jointly.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know consumers are hoping or assuming that this means rates will be lowered. Is that a practical thing to even think of?”

Alberto Young

“Looking at the trend of oil, looking at what is happening globally, in fact even food—there is a food crisis—cost of food has gone up globally and nobody is saying much about that; at least not here. It is unlikely that you will see savings. Of course that really is hinged on where oil will end up at.”

Click here to view the full BCCI press release.

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4 Responses for “Belize Chamber of Commerce members against nationalization”

  1. Initiate! says:

    21 days notice ? Well why did the Senior Managers/CEO in BEL fire themselves 4 days before the take over?? They didn’t even leave the government with any better option!!

  2. Belize says:

    One thing is investor confidence the other is allow foriegn investor to come into the country and use our natural resources to produce electricity and sell it back to us at 4 times the cost of its productions. When BEL was making the millions and us paying 10.00 every month for BEL to recover its lost or investments who complained?

  3. Lucas says:

    Isn’t this the same chamber of commerce that sooo criticized and opposed the Musa administration to the point of even threatening to with-hold sale taxes?. Money that was not theirs’. I say to the chamber of commerce: PUT-UP OR SHUT -UP.

  4. Crazy says:

    Belize the next Haiti!!!

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